The Davis Art Garage — a community effort involving more than 200 local residents and artists — has won a Grassroots Initiative Award of Merit from the American Planning Association of California. Judged the best community project in the state, it now will compete for a similar national honor. Phase I of the Art Garage project was the completion of a three-story mural in the stairwell and in the entryway on the first, second and third floors of the Regal parking garage. Phase II is the installation of the benches — sponsored by City Council members Rochelle Swanson, Lucas Frerichs and Brett Lee and the Cheney family, in memory of Frankyee Jane Cheney. A fifth bench, sponsored by Davis gallery owner John Natsoulas, is in the works. Phase III improvements will address visibility and public safety, including lighting on the E to F streets corridor. Community support is welcome, Natsoulas said, and sponsorship opportunities are available at davisartgarage.org. The Art Garage project was spearheaded by the Davis Cultural Arts and Entertainment Committee, the Davis Mural Team and the Yolo County Visitors Bureau. The Davis Community Mural spans more than 150 feet of the north wall on the second floor of the garage. More than 200 local residents and artists created it during many work parties in March. Beginning with the creation of the art, philosophy and music department at UC Davis in 1952, the mural depicts community events such as Oktoberfest, the Whole Earth Festival, Picnic Day and the Out Our Way festival. Davis artists, poets and musicians are represented within the mural.